Tag Archives: iamamiwhoami

shadowshow

One thing I want to mention before I get to the actual main part of this week’s post: In last week’s post, I had “I Saw Her Standing There” on my top 5 Beatles “underdog” song list – It should have been “Fixing a Hole”! Because that one is definitely in my top 5 and I think just edges out the former. I thought of it as I was taking a shower after the post had gone live. Too late! Oh, well.

So on to the main post: The final chapter of BLUE, “shadowshow”! Apparently, this song has been floating around since the days of kin being played in concert. But I resisted the urge to listen to cell phone recordings of it until it was released on the album itself! So proud of myself.

Right off the bat I’ll say that, visually, it reminds me a lot of the final chapter of kin, which was “goods.” Which is to say it was mostly shot with minimal lighting and smoke/fog effects. And, you know, it’s the final chapter. At the same time, there’s a lot more going on here in “shadowshow” – and it’s not just that there are a LOT more shots. The broken mirror from last week is featured here. The ever-present shadow figures are, well, present. Though most of what we see of them is…their shadows! At least in the first half of the video.

Now that Jonna is done with BLUE, it seems she’s ready to return to land, while, in the second half of the video, she sends her shadow fans into the waters from whence she herself came, pied piper style. They’ve switched places. Now it’s time for the fans to immerse themselves in this completed project, while iam contemplates their next move. Or something. This is iamamiwhoami, who can say!?

As an aside, how awesome is that disco ball-inspired outfit?? I like it, anyway!

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the last dancer

Another day, another iamamiwhoami track! Oh yeeeeah! And this one’s a real downer. Oh nooooooo.

One of the awesome things iam has done for members of the Island is that they finally released the lyrics from their entire discography. Which is only 3 albums, but it’s still a sweet, sweet treat because previous lyrics were just fans’ best guesses. Anyway, reading through the lyrics for “the last dancer” is a real downer, as I mentioned before. It starts with “the life has gone from this room/there is no future for me.” The chorus includes the line “what a beautiful day to die.” Of course, I don’t think she means a literal death. I’m certain it’s some sort of artistic death (and maybe rebirth?).

The music perfectly reflects the melancholy. There’s a tone of resignation in the lyrics and the sound. It’s sad, but you can sense Jonna has accepted her fate. She’s not going to fight it. This may be the calmest track on this album. It draws you in to the sadness. I can’t help but feel a little light-headed when she sings “what a beautiful day to die.” That’s super strange, I know, haha. But it’s just the way she sings it.

The scenery is reminiscent of what we saw in “fountain”. I think those might be some of the same shots – Well, not exactly, but they’re some of the same scenes. The shadow figures watch from the trees, but they do not approach. Some even turn away from her. The lighting is pretty dim throughout the video. I’m sure this waning light has something to do with the themes of death and resignation in the song. I can’t figure out the chair and the mirror though. These images were present in the map of the Island, specifically where this track was located. So I knew they were coming, but I don’t quite get the meaning. Still, they feel so powerful. iam has that effect on mundane, ordinary objects. I mean, just look at Jonna rocking that saran-wrap dress!

This was a puzzling video, but I have a feeling it’s meant to be the transition for the final track “shadowshow,” which I can tell you EVERYONE (meaning every iam fan, that is) is looking forward to. How will it all end? You’ll just have to stay tuned!

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ripple

Okay, so I’m finally getting around to reviewing the latest track from iamamiwhoami to be released to the general public (as in anyone who is not part of the Island or who just hasn’t bought the album yet) – “ripple.” Wow! This is the most danceable track! I feel like I say that every few track releases, but I really mean it on this one. It’s got a definite beat to it – well, in parts. It has a moment of relatively sweet calmness a little over halfway into the track. But it’s danceable otherwise.

It’s been pretty well established through various interviews and fan chatter that the black-clad figures are the fans – which makes sense now considering they are all behaving differently. Every fan reacts to and interacts with iam differently. Sometimes they’re demanding, sometimes patient, sometimes confused, and in this case, sometimes just enthralled. They dance to the music – sometimes synchronized, sometimes freestyle. Because everyone has their own unique way of enjoying iam, as they do with any other artist or style of music! (Okay, I have to admit I laughed at some of the sillier dances.)

Another thing that’s been established is that the ocean (or any images of water) represent the digital world that is the environment in which iam exists. (I still think it’s a Scandinavian thing though. Just a little bit.) It kind of makes sense because the ocean is the source of life, and for iam fans, iam music is life! And so they celebrate and embrace it. It took a little coaxing to get there for some, but they’ve learned to adapt. (I still bought a limited edition physical copy of the CD though. Limited edition! Book with pretty pictures! Thank you card! How could I not? That last one was a surprise though.)

Too many parenthetical sentences in that last paragraph. Did it even exist? Anyway, this music video is pretty straightforward, I think. Jonna watches her fans proudly and even rallies them on with claps. Suddenly the whole boat metaphor makes sense too. This whole project has been chronicling her travels! Maybe around the world? I’m now doubting if this signals a tour that will include the US. Though that doesn’t mean they WON’T be coming to the US! I hope they still will. Soon.

Well, I guess that’s enough of my yammering. I’ve got a half hour plus interview to watch (!) and a 58 page thesis to read (!!!). Goodness.

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thin and chasing kites

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for iamamiwhoami! It’s less than a month till the new album BLUE comes out, and I was wondering how they were going to release the rest of their videos by then. Question answered: They released the next 2 tracks together! My guess is they’ll release 2 more the week before the album drops and then the last one maybe the day before or day of.

A few days later, we got an interview in Dazed & Confused magazine! What a treat! I feel like’s it’s been a good while since we’ve had a decent interview. In this one, she gives a lot of love (and credit) to her fans for helping her make this album happen. This, I think, is the future of music. I’ve seen it happening more and more lately. Oh Land, another Scandinavian singer (Danish, specifically!) is making her album through a pledge page too. It’s very exciting to feel so close to an artist. They really are making the music for you. I want to see more mainstream artists doing this!

Anyway, let’s get on to the videos/singles! First up is “thin.”

Gosh, I love this one. It reminds me a lot of “fountain,” which I also really like, in that this one sounds a lot like it belongs in an 80’s fantasy movie. I just LOVE the change of pace in the song just past halfway through. It just swallows you up. It’s like being held down by an anchor in the middle of a waterspout. It’s frightening and beautiful at the same time.

I think Jonna Lee’s relationship with her fans has gotten a little complicated here. If that is who the shadowy black figures represent. I saw someone else suggest that maybe they represented her past? I’m not 100% sure about that. I can relate to the figures a little if they’re fans though. They’re getting messages in bottles from her, but the put their hands on their hips and scratch their heads in confusion at their meanings. Yes, yes, that I can relate to, haha. I suppose they figure they’re not going to get any meaning from the words because the end up burning or tossing away the papers. As I’ve said about iam before, I think their music is meant to be interpreted by everyone differently. It means something special for every individual, and no one is right and no one is wrong. That’s why they burn the papers but keep the bottles. The images of the shadowy figures holding up the empty bottles against the dusky sky gives me the shivers a little.

Next up is “chasing kites.”

We open to shots of a typewriter, dozens of sheets of paper (with what looks like her lyrics printed on them), and glass bottles. So that’s where they’ve been coming from! Jonna inhabits a lighthouse on a small island, all by herself. The shadowy figures are nowhere to be seen (except in a few fleeting flashbacks to other videos). She starts by singing “It’s a thin, thin line and I walk both sides of it.” What a great transition from the previous song! I can’t wait to hear the album as a whole. If anything, this is where she addresses her past. It feels like it’s representing her leaving her home (past) and casting her sails to the wind (future), even though she’s torn between the desire to stay and the decision to leave. This whole album, I think, is representing her journey from being this vague and mysterious project to a full-fledged “band” that’s captured the attention of, well, maybe not the world, but certainly a lot of people. She’s torn between enjoying the shroud of secrecy and wanting to share her work with everyone. (Refer back to the interview where she indicates her trepidation at becoming a “mainstream” artist while later stating that she doesn’t want to keep her artistry all to herself “in the closet.”)

It’s a really fascinating new look into iamamiwhoami’s psyche, especially Jonna’s. I’m certain she must be an introvert, because I’m familiar with that feeling of wanting to be alone, but not lonely. It’s this sort of Jekyll and Hyde tug of war in your head sometimes. Wow, this song really hits me when I think about it.

I’m so excited for this album! And they’ve finally announced the release of a physical album! I’ve already bought the digital version, but I just HAVE to have this CD, even if it doesn’t come with a DVD. Less than a month away now. Soon, soon, soon!

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blue blue

It’s all coming together! The predictions came true: snow queen Jonna has melted and so have her surroundings. In her latest single/video “blue blue” we find her in tropical landscape, surrounded by palm trees, white sand, and crystalline waters.

The first thing I noticed in the shot of her in the sand was that this is just like the opening shots in “good worker” and “idle talk” from kin. I’m not sure what it means, except that, as with kin, we’re going along on a journey with her. She’s been followed by one of the mysterious people in black, who now, rather than chasing her, provides her with comfort and companionship. She may have awoken in a strange new place, but she doesn’t have to be alone. She seems fascinated by the waves, and her new friend encourages her to explore them. While Jonna was running from the shadowy figures in “hunting for pearls” and “vista,” she seems to accept them here. She has nothing more to fear from them. They only meant to provide her with support.

There’s another Jonna in this video, one who’s slightly more dressed up in plastic bodysuit and paper frill. Unlike the first Jonna, who’s free and inquisitive, this one is sad and brooding. She sheds blue tears as she examines herself in a mirror. One of the shadow people stands behind her, watching. Somehow I feel like this is an earlier version of Jonna. Maybe one who felt stuck in one of her older phases and couldn’t figure out how to get out of it till she found her support.

The oceanic journey motif carries on pretty heavily here. Her outfit at 1:32 is evocative on the sails of a ship. We see glimpses of Jonna on an physical ship as well. Near the end, one of the shadowy figures sends little paper boats into the water to drift away freely. This journey isn’t going to end any time soon. Who knows where she’ll end up next?

Jonna wakes up in the sand at the end, and it seems the whole day has passed. It’s dusk now Did she just imagine the whole day? Her shadow companion is nowhere to be seen. Floating in the shallows, we see the sails of her outfit. She plucks them out of the water and the video ends.

This might just be wishful thinking (I’ve mentioned before that I’m DYING to see them in concert) but I really think this project might be iamamiwhoami’s way of saying they’re ready to go out into the world, i.e. on tour. I mean, that’s GOT to be what they’re hinting at, right? Sailing around the world, from their snowy, frozen Sweden to warmer and warmer landscapes? Otherwise they’re just telling an interesting story about a journey, which is fine too. But COME ON! I need to see them in concert! The only times they played in the States was once in NYC (psh, of course) and another time at some random music festival in Middle-of-Nowhere, Northern California.

Anyway, I’m not sure we’ll be getting the rest of the videos before the album comes out. It seems unlikely, seeing as how they’ve been releasing them monthly (give or take), “blue blue” is the fifth track out of ten, and the album comes out in November. So, the math doesn’t add up. But it’s okay, I have pre-ordered my digital copy and I’ll be able to watch the rest of the videos the day BLUE is officially released! I’m still annoyed at where it ended though. What is she going to do next? That final shot was such a tease!

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tap your glass

Since I last posted about iamamiwhoami, quite a lot has happened! Well, a lot for iamamiwhoami. They finally, officially announced the name and date of their new audiovisual album with this enticing trailer:

It will be call BLUE and I simply cannot CONTAIN my excitement until November 10! (Also, I was right to not bet on it being called GENERATE.) If it wasn’t clear before, there is a very oceanic theme going on here. So the title fits. “Follow the stream until you find me,” Jonna says at one point in the video. I feel like there is something about Scadinavians and the ocean. (I’m thinking of Björk as well.) Must be a Viking thing. Anyway, there’s a lot of new sounds and images to look forward to, it seems!

But let’s move on to “tap your glass”! It’s the next single/video in the BLUE project. It seems that we’ve moved from a polar setting to a more tropical one, if the white sands, fish, and kelp are any indication. Someone on tumblr (about the only place you can find people talking about iamamiwhoami) pointed out that her outfit appears to be melting as well.

The song starts with this almost darkwave/club sound. But it very quickly lifts up from the darkness and becomes this sort of sparkling, playful thing. I like that there’s this sound effect throughout that actually sounds like tapping on a glass. It’s really simple, but I appreciate it. It gives the song some character. The whole thing sounds very glass-like. It makes me think of a computer made of glass, which doesn’t sound too practical, but it’s the only way I can think to describe the combination of heavy electronic noises with lighter, ethereal vocals and sound effects.

So what about the message in the bottle? You can just make out the text “it’s how it goes” at one point, which further tumblr research has told me is from “shadowshow”, a song they performed in concert once. Anyway, you can’t buy it anywhere, as far as I know. But I guess this is her sending us the song. I haven’t heard it (though it looks like there are some shaky cell phone YouTube recordings of it) and I don’t want to until the album comes out. Unless they continue to release each song and video periodically up until the album does come out. Which I’m totally fine with.

I’ve already pre-ordered the album, of course. Something that’s bugging me though is that the physical CD release isn’t coming with a DVD. That may be due to lack of funds – which is why more people MUST know about them and support them! I’m not some damn hipster who wants to keep this all to myself. Get out there and support and listen to and buy their stuff, dammit!

Ahem. So, I’ve ordered the digital album, which will get me access to something called “[their] island” where I can download and stream their album, including the audio and the films, as well as pictures, GIFs, and lyrics. Maybe some other nifty things too – We shall see! I may still order a physical copy later just to have it. I ONLY do that with my absolute favorite artists.

With the highly accessible sound of this album so far, I’m really, really hoping this means they’ll be able to tour some major U.S. cities including the hometown of yours truly. But to do that, they’re gonna need people to BUY the thing. Like I said. So do iiiiiiit…

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Music That Made Me

This week, I’m taking a leaf out of the book of one of my favorite podcasts, Wham Bam Pow. They have this occasional segment called “Movies That Made Me,” where they have a guest come on and talk about a movie that influenced them or otherwise had some affect on them at some point in their life. I don’t know that I could do that with any movies or even TV shows, but I can definitely do that with music.

The following is a list of the top 5 albums that influenced or otherwise had some effect on me at some point in my life. They aren’t necessarily my top 5 favorite albums (though some of them are). Rather than present them in the order of least to most influential (or the other way around), I’m presenting them in the order that I discovered them (not the order they were released). This is the music that made me.

1) Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill

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This album came out when I was 9, though I don’t think I started listening to it until I was around 10 or 11. It was the first album I remember listening to over and over again that wasn’t a Disney soundtrack, or otherwise an album meant for kids. It’s funny looking back on it because this album is all about being an adult. Re-listening to it in my 20’s, I feel such a connection to a lot of its themes. I don’t know what drew me to it as a kid. It might have been her unique voice. I certainly hadn’t heard anything like it before. It was harsh but powerful. It was so the opposite of my Disney soundtracks. The production on this album is flawless–I think somehow I recognized that even as a kid. It was (and still is) such a pleasure to listen to from start to finish.

2) Nelly Furtado, Whoa, Nelly!

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I was really beginning to discover my musical independence in high school and, like most kids in my generation, found a lot of my music at that time on MTV. It’s where I first heard Nelly Furtado’s “I’m Like a Bird,” and it’s had a special place in my heart ever since. I related to a lot of that album when I was in high school. It was something about the persistent theme of a wandering soul, of someone who was still figuring out who they were and where they belonged. It helped that she, too, had a unique and intriguing voice. I loved the way it never seemed content to stay still or predictable, making it consistent with the themes of the album. It was very different from what was dominant in pop music at the time, which, according to this Slant magazine review, was “‘pop princesses’ and rap-metal bands.” (That is totally what pop music was at that time. They’re not even slightly exaggerating.)

3) Gorillaz, Gorillaz

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The first time I saw and heard “Clint Eastwood,” it blew my mind. It was unlike ANYTHING I’d seen on MTV at that time. I didn’t even know something like that could exist. I’d never even contemplated it. It wasn’t even the pinnacle of what they would accomplish, but my brain and ears were hooked. When I got the album, I was delighted at how this music was (again) so different from anything else I’d heard. It really set the bar for what music could be for me at that time. I also loved the shroud of secrecy that the band kept around them. It was like believing in Santa Claus all over again. I wanted to know so much more about them, but the not knowing was a thrill too. I still remember that sense of wonder when I re-watch Clint Eastwood, even though I now know the physical faces behind the cartoon facades.

4) Deltron 3030, Deltron 3030

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Well, what can I say about this album that I haven’t said before? Deltron 3030 changed everything I thought I knew about rap, and even what I thought I knew about music. It really raised the bar for me.There was no going back after hearing the track “3030.” It’s no wonder, considering there was a lot of creative exchanging of musical ideas going on between Del tha Funkee Homosapien and Damon Albarn at that time, and you can totally hear it. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it had the biggest influence on me since I’d first heard/seen “Clint Eastwood.” It’s just a surprise how long it took me to discover it! (It was around the end of 2010, I think.)

5) iamamiwhoami, kin

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So I think I’ve made it pretty clear how much I love iamamiwhoami. But I don’t think I’ve given a definite reason. kin is that reason. I’d already heard of them by the time they’d started the slow-release of this project/album. And I’d been intrigued before, but bounty didn’t have the same sense of continuity that kin did. kin was not as busy as bounty. It seemed to have a clearer sense of direction, even if it wasn’t clear to the viewer/listener what that was. It was better than following a TV drama from week-to-week (kin was released biweekly). I eagerly awaited every single release up to the very end, when I snatched up the CD/DVD release and watched it in its entirety. It was only after a few watches that it finally became clear to me what it was about. I won’t say because I think it means something different to everyone, and everyone is meant to discover what that is on their own. But it’s so deeply personal to me. I feel it in my bones every time.

Honorable mentions:

Björk, Vespertine – This album had a pretty good influence on me when I was in college (a lot of Björk’s work did) but it falls just shy of the top 5 most influential list. Sorry, B!

Madonna, Ray of Light – I never listened to a lot of Madonna growing up, but I remember getting interested in her around this time. This was when she was going through her Kabbalah thing. It made for a magical album.

Moby, Play – I played the hell out of this album in high school. Moby’s music was such a curiosity to me, mainly because it seemed to defy genre. It took my mind to totally new places.

Sheryl Crow, The Globe Sessions – Another album I played the hell out of in high school. It was so soulful, and I’d never really experienced anything like that. It reminded me of my experiences with Alanis Morissette, but softer.

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